Joan: We have an 8-year old Australian shepherd, Zorro,
normally rational if somewhat excitable, who goes
absolutely bonkers when I try to dump coffee grounds
into the garden.
had him since he was a pup, and very much doubt that he
has had any traumatic experiences with coffee grounds,
but he has always done this.
you make of this? Iíve heard of lamb phobia in herding
dogs, but coffee-ground phobia?
Sharon: I have good news and bad news about Zorro.
news is heís smarter than many dogs and knows that
coffee grounds are bad for canines if they eat them or
if they drink the coffee that comes from them.
news is Zorro will never work at Starbucks.
just like people, have preferences when it comes to
odors. I donít really like the smell of coffee either,
although I wouldnít growl and try to keep you from
putting the grounds on your plants. Zorro apparently has
a strong dislike for the smell and doesnít want it
stinking up his yard, which is not without irony
considering many dogs like to roll in poo and other
probably just in the way that the brain registers odors.
A scent can smell differently to different dogs and
people. I have friends who love the smell of lilies. To
me, they smell like smoke.
the same thing with dogs that have a lamb phobia. No one
really knows why the aroma of lamb cooking can create a
panic attack in certain dogs, and itís not just
herding dogs that get upset ó after all, youíre
cooking a member of the flock heís supposed to keep
safe. The phobia can be found in non-herding dogs, too.
coffee grounds phobia seems on par with the lamb, and
many people report their dogs and cats have an aversion
to the odor. One recipe for keeping stray cats and
wandering dogs from using your flower beds and lawns as
their personal potties is to scatter ground orange peels
and coffee grounds ó a solution that will work for
animals that donít like those aromas but wonít stop
those that like them.
try to acclimate Zorro to the smell, but then you might
create another problem. If Zorro begins liking the
aroma, he might eat some, and ingesting coffee grounds
can cause caffeine poisoning.
Joan: I was reading about squirrels and mockingbirds
being a problem in peopleís yards. I have four cats
ó I keep them in at night ó and the squirrels stay
in the trees and the mockingbirds have only come once.
My neighbor even said the squirrels are nonexistent
since my cats moved in.
cats are not easy but the alternative isnít either.
DANA: Yes, there are things to be said for outdoor cats.
They can keep the mouse, vole and rat population down,
and they might keep some other creatures at bay.
Unfortunately, cats also kill birds and lizards. And
there are bigger and more determined creatures out there
that can harm your cats, which is why I recommend
keeping cats safely indoors or in an outdoor enclosure.
Iím willing to put up with the squirrels and mockers
for the sake of having a healthy house cat.